As we’ve reported, the Nets domain Nets.com isn’t owned by the Nets, or Mark Cuban, or James Dolan, but a company called Cyber Mesa Computer systems. It’s registered to a Jane Hill, a manager at that company. Living in Arizona, Hill has been shrouded in a bit of mystery to New Yorkers — until now.
Andrew Keh of the New York Times flew down to Arizona to meet with the 69-year-old Hill and her son John, profiling the two purveyors of a domain they value at $5 million:
Hill said that in the late 1980s, not long after moving to Santa Fe, a picturesque town known for its vibrant arts scene, she decided to invest in “a funky little computer store,” which she and her partners called Roadrunner Computer Solutions. In 1999, with the dot-com boom in full swing, Hill sold the domain name Roadrunner.com to Time Warner for a seven-figure sum, a sale that was never publicly disclosed.
That experience has apparently emboldened Hill to seek a similar sum from the Nets. In 1996, she paid $20,000 to acquire 500 subscribers from an Internet provider that was leaving the industry, and Nets.com happened to be the domain associated with it. She said 50 people or so still used Nets.com email addresses.
“It’s a word in the dictionary,” she said, touting the domain’s potential value.
When she heard the Nets were making a splashy move to Brooklyn, she thought it would be a good time to ask her lawyer to make them an offer. When the team declined, Hill was hardly deterred.
“We were determined not to be malicious in any way, but we did want to get a little bit of attention,” she said.
She got plenty of attention with the first prank website, which featured the photo of Cuban and the banner: “Looking for the New Jersey Nets? Looking for the Brooklyn Nets? They’re not here … but they SHOULD be!”
The younger Hill is a rabid sports fan and the older a photographer with “an eclectic résumé,” according to the profile.
The team has not found the Hill family’s trolling funny. “Our website is BrooklynNets.com, and our fans know this is our site,” team spokesman Barry Baum told the Times. “Brooklyn Nets is our brand, and we have no interest in Nets.com, despite the shameful efforts of the registrant to attempt to sell us this domain name for seven figures.”
The site currently redirects to an eBay listing for the domain name.
Full profile below.
New York Times — Taunting Nets? Family Makes That Its Domain